In a change from it’s current deadly wildlife, the Royal Australian Mint looks to extinct deadly wildlife for a coin..

Australian coin producers have built their businesses on mining the highly unusual national fauna for inspiration. Surely the strangest and most varies ecosystem on the planet, you can see why coins featuring it have been popular with collectors in both the bullion, and the numismatic fields. What Australia isn’t especially known for, however, is its prehistoric world. There have been discoveries, of course, but not on the same level as elsewhere. Fortunately, as in China and Argentina, for example, there’s been a surge in new finds and that’s drawn increasing interest.

The Royal Australian Mint has debuted a new series showing off some of the more high-profile species, and they’ve started with the predatory Australovenator Wintonensis. The most complete predatory dinosaur ever discovered on the continent, it was only fully described in 2009, and dates back to the Late Cretaceous (circa 95 mya). It was relatively small for the type, less than a tonne in weight, and under 6 metres in length, so hardly going to give one of the giants of the time much trouble, but still not something you want to run into while surfing.

The coin looks good. It isn’t big on adventurous artistic style, but the mix of natural and fossilised forms is a neat juxtaposition. We’re not so keen on the excessively intrusive inscriptions, especially the big ‘C’ at the bottom, and why spell out DOLLAR when there’s a perfectly well known $ symbol in use? Other than that, a highly likeable design. The obverse has the usual effigy of Queen Elizabeth II on it, so standard in that respect.

Two formats on offer. The 3.11 gram (1/10 oz) gold is affordable for the metal, but is only 17.5 mm in diameter, always a trade-off with gold. The silver coin is an usual 11.55 grams in weight, so again, quite affordable for the casual collector. It’s something we feel is sorely needed in an industry that has increasingly prioritised the higher end, and with such a popular choice of subject, bound to create interest. Both coins are available now.

COMPOSITION 0.999 silver 0.9999 gold
WEIGHT 11.66 grams 3.11 grams
DIMENSIONS 25.0 mm 17.53 mm
FINISH Proof Proof
MINTAGE 5,000 2,000
BOX / C.O.A. Yes / Yes Yes / Yes